The Library of The Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS) has received a $175,300 Cataloging Hidden Special Collections and Archives grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, through a program administered by the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR). The grant will make the archives of Dr. Johanna Spector—a major repository of rare materials related to the dwindling Jewish communities of Africa, the Middle East, and Asia—available for research and to the public for the first time. The collection will now be cataloged for use, and rehoused in order to prevent deterioration of its materials.
Dr. Spector (1915–2008) was a professor of Ethnomusicology at JTS, and a world-renowned scholar in that field, author of books and articles, lecturer, and producer of documentary films. Her collection includes the cultural treasures of the nearly extinct Jewish populations of India, Yemen, Azerbaijan, Egypt, and Armenia, as well as of the Samaritan people, offering a window into the life of these groups in situ before their dispersal from their native lands.
"The Spector Archives offer a fascinating exploration of non-Western Jewish religious and communal traditions that developed and persisted over 2,000 years," said Naomi Steinberger, director of Library Services at JTS. "These materials are of immense value for a wide range of researchers studying ethnography, history, anthropology, and music. We are grateful to the Mellon Foundation and CLIR for providing the resources to make this extraordinary collection available to scholars, students, and the general public."
Home to more than 400,000 volumes and more than 400 archival collections, The Library of The Jewish Theological Seminary contains the largest and most extensive collection of Hebraic and Judaic material in the Western Hemisphere. The Library serves the students and faculty of JTS, and scholars and researchers around the world.
CLIR is an independent, nonprofit organization that forges strategies to enhance research, teaching, and learning environments in collaboration with libraries, cultural institutions, and communities of higher learning.